“This book is an effort to bring queer experiences of the criminal legal system to the center—of LGBT discourse and of broader conversations around crime and punishment.” Chapters tackle the history of homosexuality and law and punishment in America, criminal archetypes and stereotypes of LGBT persons, policing of social order, treatment of LGBT persons by the criminal justice system, and criminal legal responses to violence against them. In an interesting final chapter, Mogul and Andrea J. Ritchie, attorneys specializing in civil rights and police misconduct, respectively, and organizer and activist Kay Whitlock discuss how LGBT rights organizations, groups in communities, prisoner and ex-prisoner groups, and others might push an LGBT rights agenda ahead. Other similar recent books, such as Carlos Ball’s From the Closet to the Courtroom, focus more on legal rights. VERDICT Illuminating reading for criminal justice scholars and educated readers with an interest in gay rights. For public and academic libraries.— Library Journal
“The U.S. justice system is severely flawed—and its treatment of queer people is representative of its brokenness, argue the authors of the most recent entry in the Queer Action/Queer Ideas series. In a call to action to readers to aid in dismantling the violence endemic to policing and punishment systems, the authors present a history of the criminalization of homosexuality and gender nonconformity … the creation of queer criminal archetypes (e.g., Leopold and Loeb), representation of queer individuals as criminals in media … the treatment of queers in criminal courts, prisons as queer spaces, the inadequacy of legal prosecution of violence against LGBT people, and the groups currently working to address all of these issues… The authors’ knowledge of their subject is encyclopedic and their mission and advocacy admirable.” —Publishers’ Weekly (Feb.)
“Queer (In)Justice dispenses a legal history of LGBT oppression that spans hundreds of years, beginning with a sweeping review of the history of gender policing—indigenous abuse, constructions of African people as hypersexual, “contaminating” immigrant bodies, and even Biblical ideas about sodomy—and moving through a range of topics that collectively provide the most complete picture of LGBT criminalization I have ever encountered…At times devastating, provocative, explicit, and horrifying, this book will make you deeply sad, deeply angry, and more fully aware of how far we really are from full equality for sexual minorities.”– Elevated Difference
Queer (In)Justice was featured in the Hot Sheet section of the Advocate.com, February 11, 2011. The Hot Sheet lists the top10 weekly entertainment highlights on the Advocate’s “gaydar.” The book is listed at number 6: BOOK: Queer (In)Justice In this comprehensive resource for queer studies scholars and laymen, which is available February 15, the authors draw on years of research, activism, and legal advocacy to examine queer criminal archetypes — “gleeful gay killers,” “lethal lesbians,” and “disease spreaders,” oh my! — and to go beyond Stonewall in exposing a long tradition of police discrimination and blind punishment of queer expression, regardless of crime.
Kristian Williams, author of Our Enemies in Blue wrote a reviewwhich appeared in In These Times. Here is an excerpt: “Written by a team of lawyers and activists, the book describes in detail the historical and present-day treatment of LGBT people by the criminal justice system…The strength of Queer (In)Justice is that, though it focuses on the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other queer people in its analysis, it never isolates these experiences from the surrounding social facts of race, class, nationality, immigration status and so on. It never suggests that “queer” encompasses a person’s—or a community’s—entire identity. It never makes it sound as if homophobia is the only oppression at issue, or the only one that matters. In this way, the book thoroughly explores and clearly articulates the multiple, overlapping, and mutually reinforcing ways that heteronormative legality is used to marginalize and control other oppressed groups, especially the poor, people of color and women.” Read the full review.
In a review of Queer (In)Justice in Chicago’s Windy City Times, reviewer Yasmin Nair describes the book as “brilliant and searing.”
“In seven chapters filled with unstinting accounts of detail, acute analysis and historical research, the authors seek to complicate and unsettle what we might understand as the criminalization of LGBT people. ..Queer (In)Justice pulls no punches in laying out how this system brutalizes the most marginalized while remaining confident that no one will pay attention or care much…Queer (In)Justice, written in an accessible style for a general audience, is a much-needed corrective to the idea that “law and order” operate as just and abstract concepts in a system that will protect the innocent. It persuasively argues that innocence is a shifting category, contingent on visible markers of race and class privilege….this book is a powerful and productively disorienting book, and essential reading for anyone interested in how queers intersect with the criminal legal system.” Read the full review.
Queer (In)Justice was reviewed by Richard Labonte in his syndicated Book Marks column. The review was first picked up by South Florida Gay News: “Visceral unease and mounting rage aren’t the usual reactions to what is essentially a scholarly-studies title. But from its opening account of Spanish conquistadors throwing “men dressed as women” to hunting dogs to be dismembered, to its recounting of the well-known murder of Matthew Shepard in Laramie in 1998 and the less-known but no less heinous police beating in Memphis a decade later of transgender Duanna Johnson, this is a harrowing book. Hate crimes against queers are part of the focus, but the authors – a civil rights attorney, a police-misconduct attorney and a lesbian activist – are centrally concerned with how America’s police and justice systems over-criminalize the LGBT community. Among the real-life examples: a police raid on an African-American gay club in Detroit in 2003 resulted in beatings, verbal abuse and the handcuffing of 350 people – charged with the offbeat infraction of “loitering inside a building,” one of many incidents of state-condoned and authority-incited violence against the queer and trans communities cited in this encyclopedic work of advocacy, an eye-opener for any reader accepting the myth of equal justice for all.”
Queer (In)Justice was reviewed in the March issue of Los Angeles’ Adelante magazine: “In Queer (In)Justice Chicago-based civil rights attorney Joey L. Mogul, New York-based police misconduct attorney Andrea J. Ritchie, and Montana-based organizer, activist and writer Kay Whitlock confront and challenge the many ways in which queer lives are criminalized, policed, and punished. The authors shift the current conversation away from mainstream LGBT issues concerning marriage equality, bullying, and Don’t Tell and squarely address the long history of unlawful policing of sex and gender nonconformity.”
The Spring Book Quarterly of the Philadelphia City Paper says Queer (In)Justice: “…re-evaluates the penal system through a lavender lens…the book sheds light on serious flaws in the legal system, as well as homophobia and bigotry among many in law enforcement…So the lingering question is this: If LGBT individuals can’t even be guaranteed a fair trial, is true equality possible?”
Queer (In)Justice got 4 1/2 stars from Instinct magazine: “THOUGH racial inequalities have long been recognized and documented in America’s obsession with crime and punishment (all too often to no avail), the injustices facing the LGBT community remain largely unstudied and ignored, yet increasingly common. Queer (In)justice impressively confronts the prison, police and justice system head on— with both historical references and modern occurrences— showing how homophobia is used both to further punish the guilty and further blame the innocent. Way beyond sodomy laws and Stonewall, the three authors tackle issues of gay prisoner abuse, media and jury coloring and gross mistreatment of the transgender community, all the while offering practical solutions to bring the equality back to our legal system. Queer (In)justice reminds us that while it may not be pretty to talk about crime and punishment, it is necessary for us all to join the conversation. Simply put, our community cannot fully gain equality if its members are still victims.”